Author: Aaron Frey
Author & Punisher
“After leaving a career as a mechanical engineer in Boston to focus on art and sculpture, Tristan Shone, the creator and sole artist behind AUTHOR & PUNISHER, moved west to pursue his MFA in Southern California. In the metal and machine shops of University of California, San Diego, Shone forged a relationship with design, sound and fabrication that ultimately yielded AUTHOR & PUNISHER‘s first music and mapped the journey away from traditional instrumentation towards custom made, precision machinery.
Shone used his technical knowledge, along with his artistic background to create what Wired Magazine has hailed as his own “special brand of doom metal.” All aspects of the AUTHOR & PUNISHER sound begin with physical movement, limbs struggling in unison to coordinate a wall of electronic rhythm and oscillation, ultimately conditioned by an organic and loose quality absent of plastic perfection. AUTHOR & PUNISHER performances are a real amalgamation between man and mechanisms. They are direct, physical, heavy experiences that have amassed praise and intrigue from a wide array of audiences”
“…There Existed An Addiction to Blood is Clipping’s response to the horrorcore hip-hop of Brotha Lynch Hung and early Three 6 Mafia, which they’ve always loved and knew they wanted to pay homage to. But also, as horror film and literature lifers, their long-awaited opportunity to make a musical anthology of horror stories in the vein of the blaxploitation flicks of the 1970s—which they view as distinctly political, as Clipping has always been. The title of the album is taken from the 1973 film Ganja & Hess, an avant-garde horror film about black vampires that’s sampled in the centerpiece of the album, “Blood of the Fang.”
“It’s a lot of things I’m attracted to and interested in in noise, and metal, and extreme music,” Hutson says. “Which is, like, a very vocal hard-left, anti-racist politics. But that’s handled kind of irresponsibly and violently, in a way that would be frowned upon by non-anarchists, I guess.”
“The “Blood of the Fang” visual is inspired by a photo of Huey Newton — co-founder of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense — hand-cuffed to a hospital gurney while being treated for a gunshot wound in the abdomen after a gun battle with Oakland police in October 1967.
[…] Daveed Diggs’s lyrics conjure an alternate history of black political struggle in the 1960s and 70s, name-dropping radical activists and reimagining them as a pantheon of undead superheroes fighting against systems of oppression.”
International Contemporary Ensemble | Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk: Phonobellow (2015), WORLD PREMIERE from ICE on Vimeo.
“Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk’s Phonobellow, an hour-long new music theater work for five musicians, electronics, and large-scale performative installation, is the result of this collaborative process. Taking as their starting point the year 1877, Di Castri and Adamcyk explore how Muybridge’s high-speed camera and Edison’s phonograph have marked human perception. Via a heterogeneous assemblage of music, images, recorded texts/sounds, electronics, movement, sculpture, and lighting, the piece seeks to capture how deeply these inventions reverberated with people at the time, and continue to reverberate to this day.”
I saw this the other day and it was an experience – exciting, energetic, and unpredictable. Composed by Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble. More information here.
Visited Storm King, a huge outdoor sculpture park about an hour north of NYC. We arrived right in time for sunset, so the lighting was perfect. Can’t wait to go back! Some of my photos below:
MTA’s Comedy of Errors
Fascinating and face-palm-worthy article on MTA’s haphazard attempts to wrangle 1930s-era subway technology into the 21st century.
The MTA has a thankless and extremely difficult job: They have to keep the trains running. They have to do it with equipment from the 1930s, in a hostile funding environment, as administrations come and go, as public interest comes and goes, in the face of storms and accidents and pieces of aluminum foil. This they manage to do. 1.6 billion people every year take the New York subway. The system carries more than 60 percent of all people coming into Manhattan every day. It is, for the most part, safe, affordable, and there.
But still, a reasonable person looking at three projects that aim to do roughly the same thing, projects that have different teams and different agendas and seem to take, always, five years longer than planned and seem to cost, always, hundreds of millions of dollars—well, this person has to wonder whether there’s some law of the universe that makes large government software projects an expensive drag or whether in fact there’s a better way.
Read more on The Atlantic:
Bogotá and Beyond
Earlier this year I visited Colombia to learn about how coffee is grown & harvested, and processed & exported, with Café de Colombia (you know, the Juan Valdez people).
I just posted a review of Catación Pública on my other blog. It’s one of the most inspiring coffee companies I’ve come across, with the potential to make a big impact on the Colombian coffee scene. While waiting for owner Jaime Duque to arrive, I shot a few photos of the neighborhood around the cafe along with Chermelle Edwards (whose Coffeetographer blog has great photography). I’ve posted a few shots below, plus a couple more from around Bogotá.
Japan’s Disposable Homes
Found this interesting, after seeing Muji’s beautiful prefab homes, and all the eccentric residential architecture that comes out of Japan.
“IN THE UNITED STATES, people buy homes as an investment. […] Not so in Japan […]
Since few Japanese homeowners plan to sell the home and flip it for profit, there’s little incentive to maintain the house. “This whole DIY concept that’s super popular here [in the U.S.]—you have TV shows devoted to it, you have Home Depot and Lowe’s and all these things that are devoted to building equity in your home—none of that exists in Japan,””
Link: Pacific Standard
“It turns out that half of all homes in Japan are demolished within 38 years — compared to 100 years in the U.S. There is virtually no market for pre-owned homes in Japan, and 60 percent of all homes were built after 1980. In Yoshida’s estimation, while land continues to hold value, physical homes become worthless within 30 years. Other studies have shown this to happen in as little as 15 years.”
Photos by me, impatiently playing with a new camera (Fuji X-E2). Will have to do more slow exposures in a more focused manner because I like how these turned out.
Scott Walker + Sunn O))) – Brando – Film by Gisèle Vienne
Filmmaker Magazine writes:
Accompanying the first track of the anticipated collaboration, Soused, between avant-garde crooner Scott Walker and sludgy noisemeisters Sunn O))) is an arresting short film by French director and choreographer Gisèle Vienne. Walker’s music — with or without Sunn O))) — is the stuff of waking nightmares, and Vienne’s dream-like film matches it fuzzed-out chord by fuzzed-out chord. A house in the mountains, a blonde-tressed woman moving in slow-motion epilepsy; a teenage boy (her son?) locked in tremulous horror; a car crash?; and a sudden appearance by French novelist, theater artist and dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet… it’s eerie, disquieting, and, with its narrative elisions, entirely hypnotic.
Additionally: NYT article on the album, focusing on Scott Walker. Red Bull Music Academy “lecture” with Stephen O’Malley from Sunn O))).
Quote from the NYT piece:
“Once a romantic hero, then an existential one — blond, narrow-hipped, unsmiling behind sunglasses — Mr. Walker no longer has a stage persona. He hasn’t performed in public since a television appearance in 1995, and hasn’t played a concert since 1978. Whatever his music is now, it’s not pop. He’s a composer who happens to use his voice, a semi-operatic baritone pushed to high and quivering extremes, as an instrument to serve his meticulous texts, which on the new album, “Soused,” include words like “bliaut” — a 12th-century European overgarment — and “bescumber.” (Look it up.) And maybe something else: a maker of abstract dramas with tones as characters. His work demands that you come more than halfway toward his isolation, his need to do things differently, and perhaps his story of turning from light to dark.
I would argue that “Soused,” which comes out Oct. 20 on the 4AD label, might be the first music Scott Walker has made in a very long time — maybe since his contributions to the Walker Brothers’ final record, “Nite Flights,” in 1978 — that can be absorbed into the body and enjoyed as a thrill, without needing to learn a lot of other context about his aesthetic transgressions, without attending to the Myth of Scott. Rather than withholding musical or emotional payoffs, which has long been his way, there’s a sort of constant payoff here: no orchestra this time, but the steady electric-guitar and bass drones of Sunn O))) (simply pronounced sun), rich and distorted and marvelous.”
Empathy is the engine of innovation
“The best innovations — both socially and economically — come from the pursuit of ideals that are noble and timeless: joy, wisdom, beauty, truth, equality, community, sustainability and, most of all, love. These are the things we live for, and the innovations that really make a difference are the ones that are life-enhancing. And that’s why the heart of innovation is a desire to re-enchant the world.”
Photo by me, circa 2009. Taken from the fourth floor of the school I taught at, looking South toward Konkuk University. I have poster size prints available here.
The area I taught in was not the most well off; I always felt this photo illustrated those stark gradations of wealth and poverty.
Malmö Coastal Scenes
Photos by me circa 2011. Taken around Malmö, Sweden. The area has a beautiful coastline. When the cold weather finally clears up in the summer, the water – and the sun – have an inescapable calling.
Godfrey Reggio – Public Service Messages
Godfrey Reggio is better known for Koyaanisqatsi, his masterpiece meditation on late 20th century socio-economic malaise. These short pieces for the New Mexico Civil Liberties Union are just as unsettling, but more experimental in form.
An interesting take on life after (or within) post-modernity. Love the metaphors (e.g., a sinking ship, multiple islands) describing the dilemma of being forced to choose without being able to commit; also find it strangely fascinating that Shia LaBeouf is something of a spokesman. See also the Notes on Metamodernism blog.
Big Men – Oil Industry Documentary
A fascinating documentary exploring the oil industry in Ghana and Nigeria through multiple vantages, from principals at private equity firms investing in Ghana, to guerrillas blowing up pipelines in Nigeria. Free with Amazon Prime.
44 Letters from the Liquid Modern World
Zygmunt Bauman is known for his writing on late modernity, which he’s termed ‘Liquid Modernity.’ His book, 44 Letters from the Liquid Modern World, offers a concise, thought provoking introduction to many of the themes he’s explored in prior work, grounded in anecdotes and vignettes that will be easy to engage with even if you haven’t read much of the literature.
“This liquid modern world of ours, like all liquids, cannot stand still and keep its shape for long. Everything keeps changing – the fashions we follow, the events that intermittently catch our attention, the things we dream of and things we fear. And we, the inhabitants of this world in flux, feel the need to adjust to its tempo by being ‘flexible’ and constantly ready to change. We want to know what is going on and what is likely to happen, but what we get is an avalanche of information that threatens to overwhelm us.
How are we to sift the information that really matters from the heaps of useless and irrelevant rubbish? How are we to derive meaningful messages from senseless noise?
We face the daunting task of trying to distinguish the important from the insubstantial, distil the things that matter from false alarms and flashes in the pan.
Nothing escapes scrutiny so stubbornly as the ordinary things of everyday life, hiding in the light of deceptive and misleading familiarity. To turn them into objects of attention and scrutiny, they must first be torn out from that daily routine: the apparently familiar must be made strange. This is precisely what Zygmunt Bauman seeks to do in these 44 letters: each tells a story drawn from ordinary lives, but tells it in order to reveal an extraordinariness that we might otherwise overlook.
Arresting, revealing, disconcerting, these snapshots of life by the most brilliant analyst of our liquid modern world will appeal to a wide readership.”
On the “Sharing” Economy
For now, the uncomfortable truth is that the sharing economy is a rent-extraction business of the highest middle-man order.
Malmö Construction at Dusk
Photo by me. Residential construction in Malmö, Sweden.
Turning Torso Malmö Sweden
By me. Photo edited in Lightroom. The Turning Torso is a landmark in Malmö. As the tallest building in Scandinavia, it carries the weight of all that such things tend to symbolize – particularly in Malmö, which is transforming from a working class shipbuilding center to a post-industrial economy with high rates of immigration. It’s always in the background in Malmö, and so it makes for fun opportunities to recast its meaning.
Art Mundane – Poster Print
By me. Pick up a poster to put on your wall.
Art Mundane – Poster Print
By me. Pick up a poster sized print for your wall.
Art Mundane – Poster Print
By me. Click here to buy a poster print.
The enormous amount of energy, analysis, and investment that goes into such a mundane experience. What I find interesting is the role of the chef – that there is, behind all the artifice, an ideal image, a “real” referent: the ultimate buffalo wing or loaded potato skin. That there is some archetypal “gold standard” established/constructed at all.
Makes me wonder, did Baudrillard write anything about food and simulation / simulacra?
Jeep – Colombia
And a great example of signage up at the top. Photo by me.
Food Truck – Bogota
Apparently food truck culture is everywhere now. Photo by me.
Color norms – Colombia
Keep Out – Bogota
Not a welcoming looking wall. Photo by me.
On the street – Bogota, Colombia
Cheat-ography, shooting from a moving car on the way to the airport. Photo by me.